Sheriff Joanna Brady is the law in Cochise County, and she will never allow her personal trials to interfere with the job she was elected to do -- especially now that death has invaded Bisbee, Arizona, and has shattered the small desert town's fragile peace.
A gun dealer has died violently, and his stock of high-powered weapons has been cleaned out. Suspicion falls upon rancher Alton Hosfield, an armed separatist at war with the federal government and the local law--with everyone, in fact, whom he perceives as a threat to his independent way of life.
Joanna Brady suspects the solution is not so cut-and-dried--especially when the cold-blooded slaying is followed by a series of others, equally horrific and perplexing. At best, an incendiary "Ruby Ridge" situation is brewing. At worst, a maniacal serial killer has come to feed on her unsuspecting community. But Joanna's preoccupation with bringing a murderer to justice could take a terrible toll on her private life...and unravel threads of family, love, and responsibility that might never again be retied.
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Rattlesnake Crossing is J.A. Jance's sixth novel in the acclaimed Joanna Brady series (readers may also be familiar with her Seattle-based J.P. Beaumont series). Brady is no tough-talking V.I. Warshawski or Kat Colorado; her appeal lies in her willingness to admit that her Cochise County sheriff's uniform is often an uneasy fit. As the single mother of a young daughter, Brady is prey to the pain and loneliness that have resulted from her husband's brutal murder, and she struggles to prove to herself and others that she is capable of bringing a cold-blooded killer to justice.
When Clyde Philips, a local gun dealer, dies violently, his stock of high-powered assault weapons vanishes, and two sniper slayings follow soon after, suspicion falls upon Alton Hosfield, an embittered rancher at odds with the federal government, the environmentalists, and anyone else he sees as a threat to his isolation. Sheriff Brady, however, suspects that the solution may lie elsewhere, and her investigation takes her into the bizarre practices of a local resort whose appeal is equal parts New Age spiritualism, Native American pantheism, and cold-blooded materialism.
Jance has a talent for weaving prosaic threads into a gripping mystery narrative. As a result, Brady must--in addition to tracking a vicious killer--cope with the impossibly high standards of her insufferable mother; the spiteful comments of Marliss Shackleford, an old high school rival and current gossip columnist for the Bisbee Bee; and some rather unexpected news from Butch Dixon, her would-be ardent suitor. As with earlier Brady mysteries, the domestic context provides a deliciously ironic backdrop for the game of psychological cat-and-mouse being played in the Arizona desert. --Kelly FlynnFrom the Inside Flap:
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